Saturday, August 8, 2015

Day 3, Game 4 - Shirakaba Gakuen (Kita Hokkaido) v Shimonoseki Shougyou (Yamaguchi)

Our final game of the day might be considered a wind-down game. No real big names here, but they
will be fighting for survival.

Shimonoseki Shougyou is making their 9th appearance, but its first in 20 years. They come in having defeated former participants Hayatomo and Ube Shougyou. However, the team batted just 0.325 in the prefecturals, which is low given the level of competition.

As for Shirakaba Gakuen, they are making their 3rd appearance, and one could argue a year early (2006, 2011). However, their run was almost tripped up twice by Wakkani Ootani and Kitami Kougyou before blowing out Asahikawa Jitsugyou. They batted 0.356 in the tournament, which is certainly better, but how much so is uncertain. Still, Hokkaido in general is weaker and they are probably still considered the underdog if only slightly.

Shirakaba Gakuen (Kita Hokkaido)
C Kawanami Shunya
2B Gotou Hiroki
CF Ikeda Yuusuke
RF Katou Takashi
3B Hashimoto Tamamichi
LF Kawase Hiromitsu
1B Kawamura Ryousuke
P Kawamura Tokito
SS Matsuura Masaki

Shimonoseki Shougyou (Yamaguchi)
CF Tsunenobu Taiichi
SS Matsumoto Chihiro
RF Tomioka Yasuhiro
C Sakaguchi Reito
3B Masumoto Hiromasa
2B Sakamoto Yuuki
LF Sasaki Yuuji
P Morimoto Susumu
1B Zendera Kazuhiro


16:25 - First pitch!

1st Inning
Morimoto gives up a 2-out single, but that otherwise leads to nothing.

Interesting, bottom half of the inning and it srarts raining pretty good.

Doesn't stop Tsunenobu from getting a single to left. But Matsumoto's bunt isn't good at all and gets the lead runner thrown out.

2 down for Sakaguchi, and he rips one to left center! That splits the defense and will score Matsumoto all the way from 1st! 1-0 Shimonoseki Shougyou!

Masumoto with a single through the right side! Only the strong throw of Katou prevents the 2nd run from scoring.

And that's fortunate because after issuing a walk, Kawamura gets Sasaki to fly out to right to keep the damage at 1.

Top 2nd
Shirakaba Gakuen gets 2 runners on after Kawase single and Ryousuke walks. But when Tokito flies out to center, Tsunenobu accidentally drops the ball! The throw goes into 2nd and the runner is called out. The batter didnt' go to first, so they toss it there for the odd 8-6-3 double play!

Top 3rd
Morimoto issues a leadoff walk to the #9 batter, and usually it comes back to bite the team that issued it.

This time is no different! 2 down and Morimoto hangs a pitch to Ikeda and he drives it to deep right center for an RBI triple! It's 1-1!

Bottom 3rd
Sadly, Shirakaba Gakuen gifts the run back! Ryousuke wakls Tomioka with one down, and then Sakaguchi drives a ball off the wall right near the right field pole and Tomioka scores to make it 2-1!

And Masumoto lays down the squeeze!! There's no play anywhere and it's 3-1! Shimonoseki takes the lead back ! With interest!

Mid 4th
Looks like the umpires have called a delay due to lightening in the area.

~17:15  - Lightening Delay

Unfortunately this is where I inadvertently doze off. I woke up in time for the 8th where things happened, but I'm not as lucid as I'd like to make a decent writeup. I am making notes when I can though and will post it in morning. The twitter feed would be best to get in game reaction for now.


The coverage here is my recollection and notes having dozed off due to exhaustion during the delay

Apparently the delay had lasted 56 minutes, which was probably right after I dozed off. If I do the math, 17:17 was the time of the delay, 56 minutes would have been 18:13 roughly.

The fact that I woke up at 18:56 and they were concluding the 8th inning (my Asahi website feed lags so it was about a full inning behind), means they did the bottom of the 4th to the end of the 8th in a cool 43 minutes, and that would have included the 5th inning break which I would have assumed they did. That's 5 minutes per half inning, which is pretty quick.

It's also to be expected. The rain delay took away any momentum either team had.

So I got back in the 8th inning. Where after Gotou managed a walk, and Ikeda had just avoided a 3-6-1 double play, that Morimoto hung a ball that Katou crushed. He knew it immediately and raised his arm and took a slow walk until it cleared the fence.

I may have been half-awake literally, but that irked me. All that HR had done was tie the game, and there had been nothing I could see in the boxscore that gave me the feeling that this game was now theirs.

At that point, I thought they had better win this game soon, otherwise that would seem to hurt them.

But instead it was turning out like it had thought it might - it was Shimonoseki Shougyou who was getting the opportunities. Or any opportunity for that matter.

Because the tempo of the game didn't change. The teams flew through each half-inning as if they were rushing to get to the end. And at that point I mentioned on twitter that this game will either go the full 15 with each team having done little to nothing, or this game will probably end due to an error.

Shirakaba Gakuen was shutout every inning, going 1-2-3 with nothing all that memorable.

On the other hand Shimonoseki Shougyou had at least something. In the 9th they had the sayonara runner on 2nd with 2 out, but Maedera perhaps was too eager and swing on the first pitch fouling out.

In the 10th Matsuura boots a grounder from Tsunenobu to start the inning. Then 2 batters later Hashimoto appears to be playing way too far back and that allows Tomioka to beat the throw. They're saved though when Sakaguchi slips out of the box and grounds into the 4-6-3 double play.

In the 11th, an error by Gotou would allow Sakamoto to reach 2nd. And who else to put the finishing touches on the game than ace Morimoto, who chops one over reliever Nakano back up the middle. It's just out of the reach of Matsuura, and when Ikeda doesn't field the ball cleanly in center, he knows there's no point throwing home. And so Shimonoseki Shougyou wins in 11, 4-3.

The message isn't meant to be an "I told you so", it's meant to be more of knowing the situation. After that HR, Shirakaba Gakuen would not get a single baserunner after that. Meanwhile Shimonoseki Shougyou was working away, doing the game they had always done. That fist pump meant that they had done something - and they had. But it wasn't what they had thought it did which was to win that game. They weren't there yet, and it felt to me like to them it did.

Now, it could have been that message - but only if they recognized it themselves and took the momentum and ran with it because there was none to be had by either side. And that's where I think they fell short.

I'm ragging on the Kita Hokkaido representative a bit, and I do mean to do that. At the same time, when you see them afterwards, they're crying more than the average team. And of course it's understandable, and of course their efforts in getting here shouldn't be overshadowed. They certainly earned the right to be here.

I just tend to call things as I see them, and if they want to go back and see where the game turned, it ironically was on the HR that kept them in the game because I think that's where their focus was lost

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